Five TV Shows Whose Potentials Were As Huge As Their Failures

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Check out the list below:

1. Terra Nova (2011)

Photo:  Amblin Television

Photo: Amblin Television

Terra Nova was one of those shows you thought could not go wrong. I mean, you had Steven Spielberg signed on to be the producer of a show with dinosaurs. Jurassic Park rules, how could that not be a win? Not only that, but there were some seriously awesome plot themes thrown in there: time travel and the inherent moral struggles that come with a full blown reboot of civilization to name a couple.

The combination of budget, series concept, and the production team of Terra Nova set it up to be one of the most anticipated, and potentially one of the most successful television series of all time. Unfortunately, it turns out that none of those things matter when you don’t know where to spend your money and your writers are incapable of creating characters and dialogue that don’t reek of cheese. And not the good, well worn, has its place kind of cheese. We’re talking stale, smelly, spend your entire night projectile pooping cheese.

After its promising premiere, the show lost all steam: The plot began to trip over itself, the CGI dinosaurs looked like they were straight out of Gumby – who knows where that money went – and not a single character was believable or likable in any way. Maybe that one guy from Avatar who inexplicably plays the exact same character. Maybe. Thankfully, it was canceled after its first season.

2. Smallville (2001-2011)

Photo:  Robbins Productions

Photo: Robbins Productions

This one really hurt. And we probably all should have seen it coming because it aired on The WB, but I still couldn’t help but be hopeful for Smallville.

Smallville chronicled the origins of Superman, one of the most epic superheroes of all-time. The premise sells itself. To be fair, the first three or so seasons were actually awesome in a lot of ways. The evolution of the relationship between Clark Kent and Lex Luthor, Clark starting to discover his powers, and the struggles he faced maintaining both secrecy and relationships in the wake of his maturation… They were hitting on some awesome stuff.

Then Christopher Reeves – the original live-action Superman, who was apparently planning to play a large role in the series – died, and the writers for some reason felt it was best to turn Smallville into Telemundo + Superman: Seven more seasons of cliché, emo-angst, and contrived, repetitive plot lines.

The best characters were killed off and replaced with annoying caricatures of fan favorite comic book personas – ugh, Lois Lane. Then some killed-off characters were resurrected, or were never really dead… You know, soap opera nonsense.

Watching Smallville quickly went from an awesome nerdy indulgence to something I felt ashamed of doing. Like a guy playing with Barbies. Not that there’s actually anything wrong with a guy playing with Barbies, but most guys are just ashamed to admit it if they did. I dunno, puberty was a confusing time for me.

3. Heroes (2006-2010)

Photo: NBC Universal Television

Photo: NBC Universal Television

Of all the shows on this list, Heroes had the most potential, in my opinion. It was such an awesome idea: A television show filmed as though it were a comic book, featuring an entirely new cast of super heroes who are just yours to do with what you want. There are no limitations on that premise beyond budget and imagination. And like Smallville, at first it was good. In fact, season one of Heroes was amazing and worth watching if you haven’t yet.

We were given a complex and colorful cast of characters, each slowly coming to terms with their new abilities in ways very specific to their own lives. The evolution of our heroes is mirrored by the evolution of the villain, the nature of whose power all but forces him to do the evil things he does. It was legit.

Then that writers strike happened in I forget what year. 2007 or 2008 maybe? Either way, something bad went down with the Heroes writing team because things got bad quickly.

I remember the entire show quite well and I cannot count how many plot lines were abandoned after some heavy allusion to their development, or were twisted into bizarre tangents, and the main story was replaced with a thoroughly stupid overarching plot that cheaply attempted to explain everything. The story became forced and rushed to the point where things often stopped making sense for the entirety of the next three seasons.

And then the fifth season featured a poorly explained and thoroughly anticlimactic plot, though, if you were one of the few still watching at that point you probably weren’t surprised.

4. Lost (2004-2010)

Photo: ABC Studios

Photo: ABC Studios

Lost is a real doozy. It was one of the most discussed television series of all-time, and arguably it had a lot of merit throughout. While things got a bit foggy in terms of plot as the story progressed, we had grown to love the characters enough and trust enough in the excellent writing displayed in previous seasons to put up with it in the hopes that everything would be tied up in the end.

One of Lost‘s best traits was its ability to really make you want to know something – to have the unexplained explained. As the story progressed, more and more crazy and unexplained crap kept happening, and audiences everywhere just sat in complete trust and in awe of the writers that everything was leading to this huge reveal of what was actually happening.

This did not happen. And I know this is the subject of much debate – many people were completely satisfied with the ending of Lost, and if you’re one of them go write your own article, but I for one was not. I felt cheated. I put my trust in Lost and she made a fool of me! Lost went in too deep for its own good, and clearly no one writing at the end of the show had any clue that this was where things would wind up at the show’s beginning.

Were they even the same writers? I bet not. Someone should look that up, that would make a lot of sense.

5. Rob (2012)

Photo: CBS

Photo: CBS

For me, Rob is probably the most disappointing television show of all-time. It’s a show starring Rob Schneider as a guy named Rob, but who is not Rob Schneider. I know, you’re probably looking it up. I’ll wait…

Rob and his beautiful Mexican wife have recently eloped in Las Vegas. Rob returns home ready to acclimate to his new life as a married man. But oh no! Turns out his wife has a huuuuge Mexican family, all of whom are now Rob’s new in-laws! As he wackily tries to impress them and learn the ways of the Mexican-American people (at one point he’s amazed at the concept of guacamole), attempts at comedy ensue and things get uncomfortable for everyone involved, including the audience.

I happen to love Rob Schneider. Sometimes I’m unsure if I’m laughing at his comedy or just laughing at him, but either way, when I started watching Rob, I was expecting it to be absolutely hilarious in one form or another. It was not. I was uncomfortable and depressed for twelve of the fifteen minutes I was able to watch of the pilot episode before switching back to the Smart Guy marathon. Just kidding, Smart Guy was trash.

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Pop Insomniacs

  • Fenn

    I heeded pretty much everyone’s advice regarding Heroes and only watched the first season. I can see why everyone loved it. I’ll never know why they later found it so disappointing and I’m fine with that.

    Truer words have not been spoken about Smallville. Ultimately what Smallville taught me is that once a show’s quality starts to dip stop watching. It won’t get back what made it special. It’ll just taint everything you loved about it in the first place and make you despise Superman.

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